There seems to be a lot of confusion amongst patients who are suffering with joint and muscle pains about whom to consult in such a situation. I thought, I will give you a clear perspective about rheumatology and a rheumatologist so that you will be able to decide for yourself at an early stage to avoid unnecessary experimentation which in the long run may cause severe rheumatic disabilities.

Just like chest pain requires expertise of a cardiologist and in case of cough, a chest physician (pulmonologist) is to be consulted as they have undergone a specialised training for 2-3 years after completing their MD (Medicine) course which in lay man’s language is equivalent to a post graduation in Medicine.

Similarly, to take care of patients suffering from joint and muscle diseases, a separate superspecialisation has evolved, which is called Rheumatology. Rheumatism in India is often known as bai or a systemic musculoskeletal syndrome. What arthritis is in a joint, is what rheumatism is in the body. A Rheumatologist is a qualified physician, with an additional training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and related musculoskeletal conditions.
Diseases diagnosed or managed by the rheumatologist include:
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • scleroderma (systemic sclerosis)
  • dermatomyositis
  • polychondritis
  • polymyositis
  • polymyalgia rheumatica
  • osteoarthritis
  • septic arthritis
  • sarcoidosis
  • gout, pseudogout
  • spondyloarthropathies
    • ankylosing spondylitis
    • reactive arthritis
    • psoriatic arthropathy
    • enteropathic spondylitis
  • vasculitis
    • polyarteritis nodosa
    • Henoch-Schönlein purpura
    • serum sickness
    • Wegener’s granulomatosis
    • giant cell arthritis
    • temporal arthritis
    • Takayasu’s arthritis
    • Behçet’s syndrome
    • Kawasaki’s disease
    • Buerger’s disease
  • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) (inccudes a wide range Joint Disoders affecting Children)
  • Rheumatic arthritis;
  • Soft Tissue Rheumatism; ( Localizes diseases and lesions affecting the joints and structures around the joints including tendons ,ligaments capsules, bursae, Stress Fractures, muscles , nerve entrapment, vascular lesions , ganglion, connective tissue abnormalities and localised Soft tissues disorders etc.)
  • Diseases affecting bones;
  • Osteoporosis, osteomalasia, renal osteodystrophy, Fluorosis, Rickets Etc.
  • Congenital and familial Disorders affecting Joints;
  • Hyperextensible joints;
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Achondroplasisa, Marfan’s Syndrome etc.

There are hundreds of causes for the conditions mentioned above and the treatment for these also vary according to the patients. Therefore, it is very important to be in direct touch with your doctor and reveal all your problems to him so that you can be treated in the best manner possible. Please leave your comments and questions below, I’ll be happy to help you.